Install Alfa Wifi AWUS036H on OSX

So you are an Apple freak but you do admit that our macbooks have a really weak wifi connectivity. You must have also purchased one of the best USB wifi adapters, the Alfa AWUS036H and find out that it is not compatible with Snow Leopard or later... Worry not, today I have managed to install this Wifi interface and I am really enjoying it's massive signal boost. I will teach you how I did it.

  1. Download the Realtek 8187L from Alfa website or your CD media. Note that the driver must be for OSX 10.5 or later.
  2. Unpack the zip file and install driver by double clicking the install.pkg
  3. At the end of the installation you will encounter an error that the extension is not supported. Kindly ignore the error and proceed to the next step :)
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Open Terminal and enter the following commands:
    cd /System/Library/Extensions
    sudo chmod -R 755 RTL8187L.kext
    sudo chown -R 0:0 RTL8187L.kext
  6. Restart computer once again.
  7. Plug in the Alfa USB wifi device.
  8. Open Terminal and enter the following commands:
    sudo kextutil -t -v 
  9. A network window shall pop up where you configure a new profile or connect to an existing wifi hotspot. 
  10. You have now configured your Alfa USB wifi adapter!

Note that each time you reboot the computer, you need to repeat step 8.


Anonymous said...

Since the netgear WG111V2 has the same chipset does the same work for the netgear card as it does the alfa card or is it specific to the alfa card.
I dont see why it shouldn't work?


Journaling the Journey said...

Hi Anonymous this should work on all Realtek 8187L chipsets. Moreover, the procedure described here should work with all Realtek chipsets - just use the relevant drivers.

Anonymous said...

This didn't work for me. On step 8 I get an error:

Fragmachines-MacBook:Extensions fragmachine$ sudo kextutil -t -v /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext
Notice: /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext has debug properties set.
Executable does not contain code for architecture:

/System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext appears to be loadable (not including linkage for on-disk libraries).
Loading /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext.
Can't load /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext - no code for running kernel's architecture.
Failed to load /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext - (libkern/kext) requested architecture/executable not found.

Any ideas?

Journaling the Journey said...

What OSX version do you have? First thing I might try is to load into 32bit by pressing the 3 and 2 keys at the same time during bootup.

Anonymous said...

Nope, no luck.

Fragmachines-MacBook:Extensions fragmachine$ sw_vers
ProductName: Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.7.3
BuildVersion: 11D50d
Fragmachines-MacBook:Extensions fragmachine$ uname -a
Darwin Fragmachines-MacBook.local 11.3.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.3.0: Thu Jan 12 18:48:32 PST 2012; root:xnu-1699.24.23~1/RELEASE_I386 i386
Fragmachines-MacBook:Extensions fragmachine$ sudo kextutil -t -v /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext
Notice: /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext has debug properties set.
/System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext appears to be loadable (not including linkage for on-disk libraries).
Loading /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext.
/System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187L.kext successfully loaded (or already loaded).

Anonymous said...

The kext loads but I don't get a popup window...

Anonymous said...

Ok I just had to load the Realtek application and it works fine. Thanks! One question, do I always have to be in 32 bit mode to use the card?

Journaling the Journey said...

No not required - only during installation. Should work on your architecture. However you still need to load the kext everytime you need to use the card, followed by launching the Realtek application. I did an Automator workflow application. If you need the code just tell me.

Anonymous said...

Hey. Thank you very much for this how to.
Can you please post the Automator code?

Anonymous said...

Does this work in OSX Lion 10.7

Journaling the Journey said...

@Anonymous 1: This is the code to use for your Automator script:

on run {input, parameters}

do shell script "kextutil -t -v /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext/ > /tmp/alfa.out 2>&1; open /Applications/Utilities/" with administrator privileges

return input
end run

Journaling the Journey said...

@Anonymous 2:

Yep it should work although I have not tested it. If you can get back to me and the readers about the outcome, we would really appreciate it :)

Anonymous said...

It works with OSX Lion 10.7 but only in 32 bit kernel.
How can I get it to work in 64 bit kernel with a 32bit kernel extension?

Journaling the Journey said...

Boot up in 32 bit mode - i believe by pressing keys '3' and '2' while booting up.

Dave said...

i'm running 10.6.8 and trying to install awus036H antenna.

when following your checklist on step 5 when I enter the first sudo chmod line terminal asks me for a Password. The weird part is i can't even type mine in. I've even turned off my account password.

Dave said...

okay disregard last, i figured out i just put in my password.

Step 8, line 1:
I get "No kernel extensions specified". however if i type in /system/library/extensions/RTL8187L.kext it says it is a directory.

yasser said...

hello guyz i am using mac os 10.7.4 and i did all the steps but the thing is when i dont get a popup window just the same thing with the anymouse frined .. any thing may help ? plz :D

Riky said...

yoy thanks a lot bro i finnally got it to work !!!! and all thanks to you

PedroPetz said...

This work on mac os 10.8?

Anonymous said...

I'm using unibody polycarbonate macbook, which have Snow Leopard pre-installed. Was enjoying AWUS036H since early this year until yesterday I decided to upgrade to Mountain Lion.

After the upgrade only I realized that Realtek USB WLAN Client Utility wasn't working as usual. I totally forgot about the driver which have issue with Mac OSX above 10.6 version.

Anyway, I have follow the step 1 and at step 8 I encountered this error messages:-

Macbook-2:~ admin$ sudo kextutil -t -v /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext
No kernel file specified, using '/mach_kernel'
Notice: /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext has debug properties set.
Executable does not contain code for architecture:

/System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext appears to be loadable (not including linkage for on-disk libraries).
Loading /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext.
Can't load /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext - no code for running kernel's architecture.
Failed to load /System/Library/Extensions/RTL8187l.kext - (libkern/kext) requested architecture/executable not found.
Macbook-2:~ admin$

Any idea guys?

Patricio López Sillero said...

Hi, i have lion in my mac and i cant get to do it work...somebody can help me??? i tried, but i cant

Patricio López Sillero said...

Sorry, my reallink is UBDO-nt

Journaling the Journey said...

I will have a macbook pro soon (courtesy of the company where I work) - I will test and let you know.

Anonymous said...

Any idea as to why my antenna becomes randomly disconnected? When it works I average around 90% signal strength. Help from anybody would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great help .. worked on second time i tried actually Step 8 was confusing i thought its 2 steps process but it was a single like script ..

my bed .

Unknown said...

Hi James,

Great discovery, thanks for sharing!

Do you suppose this will work with osx 10.8? Mountain Lion will not start up in 32 bit mode but it is possible to right click an app > get info > select "open in 32 bit mode"

I'm hesitant to test it because I don't want to muck up kismac, but if this works, it would save me a lot of headache!

schinkel said...

Hello James,

Does this work for a powerbook running 10.5.8 and a awus036nhr?
I've installed the driver from the alfa site. When the "wireless network utility" opens I get the message to enable the WLAN card. When I open network in sys pref the hardware is recognized as ethetrnet-adapter (en2).
Can you give advise what to do?

Best, Ed.

Anonymous said...

Apparently it would work only on 32-bit, and 10.8 is 64bit

This is what I received from tech support from Alfa:

The AWUS036H works on 32-bit Mac only. If your Mac system is running on 32-bit CPU and you just upgraded the Mac OS to latest version then your
AWUS036H is still compatible to it. However, if you just purchased a new Mac system with 64-bit CPU and built-in Mac OS 10.7 or later version then you
need to boot your computer into 32-bit in order to run the application with device. And you can find the installation guide through our blog @

To identify whether your Mac system is running on 64-bit or not,